From MaineListings.Com – Maine Real Estate Sales Up 5.86 Percent in October




SOUTH PORTLAND (Nov. 20, 2013) — Maine’s existing home sales and prices continue to move in a positive direction, even during fall’s cooler temperatures.

According to Maine Listings, Realtors across Maine’s 16 counties sold 1,246 homes in October—an increase of 5.86
percent from one year ago. The median sales price (MSP) rose 3.37 percent to $176,250.

The MSP indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less.  Nationwide, sales were up 5.2 percent last month, according to the National Association of Realtors. The national MSP reached $199,500, an increase of 12.7 percent. The regional Northeast experienced a sales uptick of 11.7 percent and the regional MSP jumped 7.4 percent to $247,300.

“Inventory continues to climb, and prices are appreciating; many sellers are now more comfortable entering the market,” said Bart Stevens, President of the Maine Association of Realtors. “A majority of the distressed properties have left the market, and things appear to be moving back toward a more normal real estate environment.”

Stevens, owner/broker with Century 21 Nason Realty in Winslow, said lenders have capital available for borrowers, and those with steady jobs and good credit scores should take advantage of “historically low interest rates and favorable affordability. Now continues to be a good time to purchase real estate for personal use or investment purposes. For many, owning is more affordable than renting due to the tax benefits over time and the accumulation of

For rest of article and accompanying charts, please click on link at the top of this column.

From HuffPost: How to Strengthen Your Sales Funnel Via Trade Shows

Too often businesses will pay good money to exhibit at a conference or trade show, including purchasing expensive backdrops, displays, brochures and other materials – and then neglect to invite their contacts to attend and visit them.   This makes even less sense when the business is presenting a workshop or seminar, when showing off their expertise is exactly the way to nail a potential client.


Participating in a trade show generally requires a significant commitment of your time, money and resources. However, if you plan well, you can supercharge your sales funnel through trade shows.

At Jifflenow, we have powered meeting management solutions for dozens of Fortune 500 companies for the last few years at some of the major trade shows and conferences. We have observed the best practices followed by these companies on winning the mindshare battle at trade shows. This article will share some ideas from what we have learned so far.

A Quick Refresher on AIDA Model

One of the common models to describe a sales funnel is the AIDA model. AIDA an acronym for:

    • Awareness: Get the person to know that you exist.
    • Interest: Raise the person’s interest about your offering.
    • Desire: Convince the person that your offer is what they need.
    • Action: Move them towards taking action to make the purchase.

Working with the Model

Trade Shows provide an amazing opportunity to move your prospects and customers through this sales funnel. Here are some ideas to consider:

1. Raising Awareness:

Participation in a trade show provides a perfect excuse to touch those people in your list (prospects) that you have not touched for a while. A simple email asking whether they plan to be attending the trade show can break the ice and lead to a few more conversations either via email or it might even get upgraded to a phone conversation.

A small percentage of the outreach will result in positive replies and some of them even may be attending the trade show giving you an opportunity to invite them to a meeting that will move them from Awareness to Interest.

2. From Awareness to Interest:

This is where all your investments in building thought leadership will come into full use. Here you are targeting people who are familiar with what you do but have not taken keen interest to take a deeper look. The core strategy here has to be “Education.”

Invite these people to one or more of the following:

    • Breakout sessions about trends in the industry
    • To meet with industry experts on your staff
    • Demonstrations of cool new product offerings


Conversations at these educational sessions can determine which of the prospects might move into the next sales stage.

3. From Interest to Desire:

This is where you are engaging with “real” prospects that have shown interest but have not decided to proceed with one or more of your offerings.

The goal of your salespeople should be to get these “hot” prospects to meet with your star solution architects, product managers and combine them with one or more members of the management team.

The agenda of those meetings has to be to discuss specific projects and opportunities how your offerings can bring a significant value to their present situation.

4. From Desire to Action:

This is where you are engaging with prospects that are in the “last mile” of discussing specific deals with your organization. This is also the “power play section of the trade show activity. You need to bring key management team members to show the commitment to the relationship.

The goal of salespeople is to get the right decision makers from both ends (prospects and your organization) to the table. Not just that, they need to brief the internal team and arm them with all the information

What Next?

Think about the above for the next trade show you are planning to attend. What you have to work with is a superset of all the prospects that you can reach related to the topic of the trade show. Categorize these prospects into various buckets (A.I.D.A) and create a plan of attack to for each category of prospects to move them to the next stage in the sales cycle.

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An Invitation from the Hon. Lois Snowe Mello, Experienced Maine Legislator

the Hon Lois Snowe Mello

Yesterday I received the following very generous offer via email from my friend, the Hon. Lois Snowe Mello, a former Maine legislator with extensive experience as both a Representative and a Senator.

Lois had volunteered to co-present on a legislative advocacy panel for the Greater Androscoggin Real Estate, Housing and Land Use Conference on November 8th; sadly we didn’t have enough people signed up to be able to run the workshop.   However, she is a great believer in our legislative system, and in helping people understand how to impact laws… especially those that are supportive of Maine’s small businesses… and has continued to offer her help in teaching people how the system works.

Hence, the following letter:


If anyone would like to go to Augusta with me one day I can work with them and show them how to work with Legislators and where committees are and where the Maine House and Senate is.


This is an amazing offer from an amazing woman… And I’d love to help coordinate such a wonderful field trip.  Please contact me directly at 207 740 2247 or via to set up a time… or, if you know Lois personally, you can connect with her directly.

Thank you so much, Lois.  You are a wonderful champion for small business!

2013 Profile of Home Buyer and Sellers: Technology Trends

2013 Profile of Home Buyer and Sellers: Technology Trends.

From the National Association of REALTORs.

2013 Profile of Home Buyer and Sellers: Technology Trends

The 2013 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers was released on November 4, and as it does each year the report examined the demographics, preferences, motivations, plans, and experiences of recent buyers and sellers.

One recent trend discussed is how much consumers now embrace technology during the home search process. Did you know that…

  • Fifty-six percent of buyers start their home search online, 43 percent found the home they ultimately purchased online (edging out all other sources), and 92 percent used the internet at some point during their search process.
  • Forty-five percent of recent buyers used a mobile or tablet website or application during their home search and among those who did 22 percent found the home they purchased online.

Check out the link above for charts from the Profile that highlight the growth in technology usage over the years.


How To Deter Deer from Your Back Yard


How To Deter Deer.

The link above is to the article written by Patty Vaughan.  November 13, 2013.   Posted in

We love deer and would happily have them hanging out around our house if it weren’t such a bad idea – and in fact, until a few years ago, we’d occasionally see deer in our wooded back yard, even though we’re pretty much smack dab in the middle of town.  (Since adding two more dogs to the family, there have been no deer; we’re not certain if it’s coincidence or because of the additional dog smells.)

But of course, wild animals and people just don’t mix.  Our house was built in 1979 in a development that has protected woods behind it – no one can ever build back there.  Which is great for us, and great for the animals whose habitat was encroached on nearly 35 years ago… but not so great when the people and the martins, foxes, porcupines and deer get in each others’ faces.

I’m not sure how do-able the tips in the attached blog are for most people, but if deer are getting into your ornamental shrubs and it’s bothersome to you, these might be an option.


Aqua-Max Recognized for Leadership

Thumbs Up

Better late than never….

We just learned that Dan Cote, owner of Aqua-Max (an exhibitor at our Androscoggin Landlords Conference last May) received a plaque from the Eastern Water Quality Association (EWQA) in October, and a letter thanking him for his leadership and willingness to assist legislators in Maine with water treatment solutions.

“This enabled residents with access to true solutions for their homes and industry.  The leadership in this effort provides the State of Maine with new water treatment information that has improved the image of the water industry.”

Congratulations and BRAVO!


“Aqua-Max of Maine provides solutions for water purification. We will test and analyze your water for impurities from arsenic to pollutants.”

I Can Do It Myself! (Famous Last Words)

Non Sequitur comic strip, November 12, 2013 (click on picture for larger version)

Non Sequitur - REALTOR

If you’ve ever been tempted to buy or sell a property without the help of a licensed real estate agent, my advice is DON’T!

I’ve been a landlord for more than 30 years, and was a real estate agent for 4 years, and there’s no way I’d buy or sell without a REALTOR…. in large part because I know what can go wrong.   Real estate agents must – by virtue of their license – stay on top of all the laws and their various changes and permutations that affect real estate transactions, and believe me – there are a lot of them.

Sure, you can save a few thousand dollars by not using a licensed agent, but it’s not worth the risk.

Years ago I knew someone who decided that plumbing couldn’t be all that hard, so he decided to fix his toilet all by himself.  A week later, I finally called Jerry the plumber.  Jerry took one look, slowly shook his head and said in that very Downeast drawl he had… “Linda, don’t ever let that guy near a toilet again”.

A half hour job had been turned into a week of no toilet and a two hour fix.

It’s sort of the same with real estate, except the risk is oh so very much greater.


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If Any of Your Landlord Clients Are Giving You That Uneasy Feeling….

… there may be a good reason.  The scenario below describes a situation my husband was recently involved with.
OTS Logo - Rentals & Inspections - Square

Dear Accountant, Lawyer, Banker, Mortgage Professional…

I hope you’ll take time to scan the scenario below that my husband, John Snyder, was involved in, as the court appointed property manager.  Had he been brought in years – or even months – before he actually was, the whole thing might have turned out differently.As an accountant (lawyer, banker, mortgage professional), you likely have one or two clients who give you that uneasy feeling, especially if there’s a divorce or partnership breakdown involved.Bringing in a professional like John could save a lot of heartache and financial problems.

Linda Snyder
Back Office Operations
On the Spot Property Management & Building Inspections
207 740 2247

The Situation:

In October 2011, On the Spot Property Management was appointed by the Court to manage a boarding home complex of several dozen units.  It was a divorce case that had dragged on for years, with the judge eventually realizing that the spouse who had been managing the real estate couldn’t account for either the income or the expenses of the buildings, which were joint marital property.

That spouse also insisted that the buildings had been barely breaking even for years, and that the significant credit card bills and “shareholder loans” totaling nearly $40,000 attached to the LLC were the only way to keep those buildings running.

The Court appointment was supposed to be for just three months, but the case continued for more than a year beyond that, until spring of this year.

During that year and a half, On the Spot Property Management was reimbursed for 10% of the collected rents, as well as $45 per hour for such tasks as handling bed bug issues, water and furnace failures, lockouts, public safety calls, evictions, and so forth.  On the Spot’s monthly fee varied from around $1,100 per month to over $2,000 at times, averaging about $1,500 monthly.

Yet even with the additional expense of On the Spot’s fees, the buildings were still breaking even during those 18 months, even with the initial problems of little money in reserve, bills that had gone unpaid, and a heating season having just started…. and even though the managing spouse insisted that the properties were losing money (although he had no records to prove his contentions).

The managing spouse didn’t even provide receipts to his tenants for rents paid nor did he keep other income records, so it was impossible to determine how much money had in fact been collected over the previous decade.

Over the next 18 months, On the Spot Property Management found that the entire infrastructure of the three buildings was shot.  The furnaces had been illegally patched, the plumbing and wiring didn’t meet code, and other neglected issues continued to rear their ugly little heads.

Eventually it was determined that the mechanical systems of one building were in such disrepair that they would cost at least $25,000 to fix – and there was no money to do so.  The building had to be closed, and the tenants relocated.

So where had the money gone?

Of course, everyone involved knew, but by the time On the Spot was appointed to manage the properties, it was too late.  The money was gone, the needed repairs had not been made, and the properties were deep in debt.  What was supposed to have been the children’s college fund was now less than worthless.

Had On the Spot Property Management gotten involved years before, the buildings almost certainly would have been salvaged, credit ratings wouldn’t be in the toilet, and there would have been savings for the kids.

If you suspect that a landlord client of yours is losing money in a way that doesn’t quite make sense, please give John Snyder of On the Spot Property Management a call at 207 712 0674.  He will be glad to speak with you (and your client), and help determine if something is amiss.

Surely it’s worth it to find out now, rather than wait and hope… and have your client lose the buildings entirely, as happened in this instance. 


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R vs D – Where Do Landlords Stand?

Republican Democrat Symbols

They say all politics is local.

The last election in Lewiston (ME) was closely watched by members of the local landlords association as a former Mayor (Larry Gilbert) challenged the sitting Mayor (Bob Macdonald) for his post.

In previous years, there hadn’t been much apparent interest by area landlords in the Mayor’s race since the position doesn’t really have any power… it’s pretty much a figurehead job, with the ability to break ties when necessary on City Council votes, and little else.

This year, however, the issue of small landlords being pushed out of business by non-profit housing agencies that appear to get preferential treatment – including huge tax breaks and incentives – became a lightning rod just before the election.

Former Mayor Gilbert is very much a proponent of the subsidized housing programs that renovate existing buildings for upwards of $150,000 a unit; the current Mayor (Macdonald) had repeatedly gone on record as supporting the private landlords who struggle to make ends meet in an economy where the HUD (Housing & Urban Development) Fair Market Rent for a two bedroom apartment dropped nearly $100 a month locally – not that the rental subsidy programs were paying Fair Market Rent, anyway.

Macdonald, a conservative Republican with a penchant for very “rough around the edges” speech that evokes among some the same shudders that Maine’s uber conservative Republican governor has engendered, soundly whupped his liberal Democratic challenger Gilbert.  (Gilbert is a lot more polished, but isn’t immune to foot in mouth disease.)

Did Macdonald win the landlord vote, and thereby the election?  I don’t know.  What do you think?

We’re curious… have you voted in local elections based on the “landlord-friendliness factor”?  Take our poll!


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Want to Learn About Bedbugs or Renters Insurance or Sprinkler Systems – Without Having to Sit Through a Formal Class?

Come talk to our exhibitors for FREE!

The Greater Androscoggin Real Estate, Housing and Land Use Conference is tomorrow – Friday, November 8 – at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center in Lewiston.

Along with the conference, which offers CEUs for real estate agents and land use engineers, as well as workshops for landlords, will be a small vendor fair with some very cool exhibitors.

To get into the conference  – which includes a hot buffet lunch with keynote speaker speaker Jim Bennett, sponsored by Bathfitter, and a presentation by our Designated Non-Profit, John F Murphy Homes, Inc – there’s an $89 fee.

However, we’ve just decided to open the mini vendor fair up to the public – for free – because we want to give our exhibitors the opportunity to talk to as many interested people as we can bring in for them.

So come on over to the Ramada between 9:30-12:00, or 1:15-3:30, and pick the brains of these great businesses. We’ll also give you a copy of the Conference Program to take home with you.  (And of course, if you decide you want to take the workshops, we’ll gladly accommodate you, for that $89 fee – or even a pro-rated portion.)

Bathfitters Logo Our Keynote Speaker Sponsor.  Jeff will be glad to talk to you about your bathroom renovations.

JFM Homes  John F Murphy Homes, Inc is our Designated Non Profit.  They offer comprehensive supports for people with intellectual disabilities.  Leslie would love to tell you about them.

A_H_Logo_Resized A & H Properties’ owner Teague is prepared to tell you about the kinds of things you should inspect for when buying a foreclosed home.

AHI Logo Dan, the owner of Accurate Home Inspections, is also teaching a class for real estate agents (and other interested people) on the HUD 203k loan program… which allows for construction costs to be wrapped in as part of your mortgage.  There are rules, but it’s very do-able.

Advance Fire Protection Services Want to learn more about sprinkler systems, wet or dry?  Dean is ready to tell you what you need to know!

BuggyLogo12  Bedbugs… gaack!!   Dale deals with bedbugs in every manner possible; and there are several ways to do it.  Come pick his brain!

healthy androLead paint is a major issue in Maine buildings and remediation can be very expensive.  However, Dana is ready to offer some less expensive solutions to the problem.

liberty-mutual-insurance-logo-287x73  George can come up with a great price for your insurance needs if you bundle them all together… I know, he gave me a very competitive bid.  Ask him for information!

Maine Housing Search Want another resource for advertising your rentals or finding a quality apartment?  Ask Scott from Maine Housing Search dot org.

Mardens Years ago I bought carpeting from Marden’s for a conference room that was going to see a lot of traffic… man did that rug last!  Talk to Ken; he’ll give you good advice on inexpensive but quality flooring.

MastrogiacomoHow often do you get to pick a lawyer’s brain for free?  Well, you won’t be able to here, either, but Attorney Matthew will be offering a workshop for anyone who signs up for the conference… at $89 for the entire day, including picking his brain, you’ll spend less money than you ordinarily would for half an hour of most attorney’s time.

Michals Insurance LogoMedical marijuana…. marijuana for personal use (in Portland, anyway).  Dangerous dog breeds.  Insurance companies are struggling with these issues and the answers aren’t easy.  Matt will fill you in.

OTS Logo - Rentals & Inspections - Square In the morning, John will be busy teaching his “So You Want to Be a Landlord” class, but after that, he’ll be available to talk about property management, engineering issues, or even two of his passions: fostering dogs through local rescues, and playing keyboards.

Perfect BasketCeleste makes the most beautiful housewarming and other gift baskets in town.  No time to shop? She’ll take care of it for you.

SafeAirBruce teaches our 8 CEU courses for real estate agents and engineers – and keeps people entertained while he’s doing them.  If you’re just stopping by, you may not be able to meet him as he’ll be off in class, but one of his guys will be on hand to answer questions about radon, weatherization, lead paint and asbestos.

US Mortgage  Bob wants to get the word out about Reverse Mortgages as a vehicle for buying 2-4 unit properties as well as single family homes.  Let him tell you about it!

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